Monday, July 7, 2014

Giving Generously I

A theme that I have heard regularly from the pulpit over the years is that we are called to give generously to those in need. A quick internet search turns up page after page of pertinent verses from the Bible:

Deuteronomy 15:7-8 - If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

Luke 12:33 - Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Proverbs 21:13 - Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

1 John 3:17 - But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

Acts 20:35 - In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Some might feel convicted by these bits from scripture, where the term "convicted" is Christian-ese for feeling guilty for not doing better at something. But for me, the notion of giving generously to those in need is something that I have always struggled with. I struggle not because I feel guilty, but because I feel like there are some issues and principles involved. Also, who gets to decide what is meant by "generously" when it comes to giving?

Stay tuned for a continuation of this topic tomorrow.

(Part 1 of 3)